Friday, January 30, 2009

A short and unsatisfying answer to repetitive questions.

A number of other CETPers on facebook have jumped on the bandwagon, and completed a meme of 25 random facts about themselves. At least two of them put down almost the same thing. This life, in Hungary is probably the most lonely experience in our lives, but also the most rewarding. 

It is true. We are constantly questioned, by family, friends and acquaintances, about why we choose this life. Why are you here, why did you come back? Are you avoiding real life?  This question still rolls around in my mind, since Sara's friend first asked me it. To this, I still have no better answer than I ever did. 


Thursday, January 22, 2009

This is how I roll...

With one of my private students, we came across the term "this is how I roll." Which made me think of exactly how I roll as a teacher at EJK/G.

Today in first period only two girls showed up. I was confused, because no one told me that there would be a university presentation. Later another teacher spent 45 min looking for her class because no one told her either...yeah that is how we roll.

Second period was 9d. Already my largest and one of my most challenging classes, it was crashed by the other half of the homeroom class. They barged in yelling "Nincs tanar, Not the teacher" and sat down in my class. After just a moment's pause I gave directions to the German students (the class crashers) in German. This stunned most of my class into silence, because they did not know I spoke any other languages. Then spent the rest of the lesson shifting between being a Miss, a Tanarno and a Frau. A semi-bilingual teacher in a supposedly trilingual classroom with practically monolingual students...yeah that is how I roll.

Last period I spent 15 minutes with my class searching for an empty room. Having been told I was not in the classroom I have been using since the beginning of this schedule and all others on the first and second floors of both wings were being used. One third of the class was spent looking for a place to have class...yeah that is how we roll.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Three beautiful things about Thursday

Mwah ha ha Marathon blogging week. Maybe it is the new year, maybe it is my new cheerful mood, but every day I discover or experience something I want to share.

1) Being walked to school by a man (aged somewhere between 75-80), who I met when he congratulated me on not slipping on the skating rink that used to be a pavement. We conversed, somewhat stiltedly but even then we were halfway there before the conversation got into words I did not understand.

2) Being able to print 11d's test, and laughing with the photocopying secretary at my bad stick figure drawing.

3) Talking to friends on skype about nothing in particular

Oh, and finding out that another teacher is pregnant. This is, however bittersweet because it means a new schedule just as I was adjusting to the last change in schedule. Hopefully I will not have any new classes....please.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Evil-alternate universe Wednesday


that is a tamed down estimation of the noise I made today when one of my 11d K girls snuck up behind me while I was petting a dog and tweaked my waist. She scared the heck out of me. I turned around, took out my earbuds blaring Mamma mia and heard the majority of the class laughing their asses off. I crinkled my eyes and said "not nice". The perpetrator, who is about 5'1'' and considers herself a tough guy, made the peace symbol and asked "we peace?" I nodded and was surrounded by 11d students walking towards their buses. Adam and some of my advanced girls offered me cigarettes, and others told me "Miss tudsz Magyarul" while others asked about my death metal preferences. I laughed, but secretly wished that they would speak this much English in class.

In 7a we are working on a flat stanley, because it practices letter writing. Going around to each group I asked what was the most important things we should include in the letter. We are idiots/We did bad things or some variation came up in every group. Confused by what my little angelic seventh graders could have done, they told me. "We poured water all over outside" (they are talking about the third story balcony), "so we slide. We are in trouble. They" (the Maintenance men) "screwed the door shut. Then we broke a window and broke the doors on the cupboards" I was flabbergasted.

In 12b, the student I saw at Unkium not only spoke in whole sentences, but lead part of the conversation.

What was going on today?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hétfő, Hétfő good to me

I love mondays.

This is probably the strangest statement that I have ever uttered/wrote, but nonetheless true. I love Mondays. B-week mondays to be precise. Two classes, that end early and give me time to catch up on the dreaded Naplő, but enough time to wander. Today I chatted with Bea, another teacher, went to T-mobile to fix my phone (I was locked out for a horrifying 24 hours....I am sadly co-dependent), check out our library, hit Profi and still get home in plenty of time for my private lesson.

Lessons with Kitti are my favorite part of Mondays. She is a Piano teacher who lives in my building. We chat about babies (her grandchildren and my fake niece), and work through the book. Today we played a game that practices large numbers, discussed quince and the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Every week she brings me something, because she feels that I do not charge her enough for lessons. One week it was home-made apple stuffed pancakes, another week a CD, a necklace, last week home made quince preserves, and this week candy. Better than any treat she pulls out of her purse, I feel like I am helping her learn, which is the best feeling any teacher can have.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hevesi Mexi-Buli: I heart people

The most difficult thing about living in a country where you can not really speak the language is isolation. There are many different ways of dealing with this, and one is weekend get togethers.

The No had been missing MN tex-mex (differentiated from normal americanized mexican food, by being made by people who feel ketchup is a tad spicy) for the five months that she lived in Heves. Also, she needed an excuse to draw people into her awesome flat. The obvious answer: Mexi Buli.

Armed with tequila and a pot full of home-made salsa, the No welcomed the weekend posse.

Here is Franny and I sporting our mustaches

We ate burritos, drank margaritas, chatted, laughed and built the Soap opera wall. The cooking/prep work was made difficult by my lack of sufficient counter space (but as I used to have none at all, I can not complain too much. Thanks Mom, Dad, Viki and Ron for your reorganization skills/muscles) and kitchen utensils/ containers. Luckily Jamie brought a large frying pan, and Hanna and I decided that a large plastic tub was the perfect sub for a margarita jug. It was a blast. Then we went to the red shuttered Kocsma, where we played cso-cso and danced. My students, for most part, avoided eye contact with their up-tight American teacher. The main exceptions were a couple of 9b students (shame shame 14 year olds), an 11d student (who promptly made out with his girlfriend), and the 12b student who rarely talks.

All in all, a fabulous start to the year.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

We are working...we aren't working....

Jet-lagged and bleary-eyed the No showed up to school on Monday morning. Many of the other teachers looked at her surprised, because despite the No's assurances, they had not been sure if she would return to school. The No glanced up at the board that listed substitutions and general announcements. There she saw something about Szombaton (Saturday), but ignored it. She had been planning a Mexican/Hungarian fiesta for over a month. She had checked which Saturdays they would be working, sent out invitations and bought supplies at home.
So on Tuesday, when one of the teachers translated the message on the board to mean that we would be working on Saturday, the No was both disappointed and peeved. Flurried messages over facebook and cell phone assured that while there would be some cancellations, the Mexican party would continue. So, having rearranged her schedule the No was set. But the No forgot, she lives/teaches in Hungary. So, while she was surprised on Thursday by the news that Saturday school was moved from this weekend to sometime in March, she shouldn’t have been. The government moved the date of the extra working day, because of the gas crisis in Europe. In summary, the gas from Russia to Europe has been cut off due to diplomatic problems. This means that Hungary has to tighten its gas-using belt, i.e. gas in public factories has been cut off, and in Schools and universities, it has been cut down. Our second floor is cold enough that the students wear jackets and scarves during class. This means that in order to save gas, we do not have school on Saturday.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Catch up: Parents, Ribbon Ball and Christmas Break

I have been on the go ever since Thanksgiving. The week after Thanksgiving my parents and their friends came to visit, we had our ribbon ball, and I went home for two weeks. As a photo is worth a thousand words, I will try to insert a few photos to summarize a couple photos instead of rambling re-tellings.